What heart could have thought you?—
Past our devisal
(O filigree petal!)
Fashioned so purely,
From what Paradisal
Too costly for cost?
Who hammered you, wrought you,
From argentine vapor?—
“God was my shaper.
He hammered, He wrought me,
From curled silver vapor,
To lust of His mind—
Thou could’st not have thought me!
So purely, so palely,
Insculped and embossed,
With His hammer of wind,
And His graver of frost.”
This poem was originally published in New Poems by Francis Thompson (London, 1897) and is now in the public domain.
The following prophecy, known as Zechariah’s Canticle, is given by the temple priest after the birth of his son, John—who would become “John the Baptist,” the forerunner to Jesus Christ. Zechariah can taste the sweet nearness of redemption, and he sings its song.
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people
and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
that we should be saved from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us;
to show the mercy promised to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant,
the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.